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the false prophet, had accomplished by their lying wonders. And the seventh vial actually finds them encamped at Megiddo, on the shores of Palestine : that it right be fulfilled that is written in many of the prophets holy mountains must the mystic Assyrian and Babylonian perish. Gog nieets not his fate in the fire that consumes the land of Magog; but “ he and his multitude” fall in the land of Israel,- and there, as was distinctly marked in a former vision — " without the city” – the “
great wine-press of the wrath of God is trodden.” Thus, then, is explained how the kings of the earth, which had been partakers of the corruptions of the mystic Babylon, bewail her destruction at a distance.
The merchants of the earth also bewail her fall:
11. " And the merchants of the earth shall
and mourn over her; for no man buyeth of their merchandise any more: the merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood,' and all manner of vessels of ivory, and all manner of vessels of most precious wood, and all brass, and iron, and marble, and cinnamon, and odours,' and ointment, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men,"— or perhaps, " and of bodies, even the persons of men.”
“ And the fruits that thy soul lusteth after are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all.”
“ The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off, for the fear of her torments, weeping and wailing, and saying, Alas, alas! that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls! For, in one hour, so great riches are come to nought. And every ship-master, and
1 A kind of wood valuable for its sweet scent.
Or,“ sweet-smelling incense.”
all the company in ships,' and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, and cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city! And they cast dust upon their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas! that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea, by reason of her costliness; for in one hour is she made desolate!”
This is, indeed, a striking picture of a great and luxurious city, which, having been the mart of the nations, suddenly perishes. The merchants, and traders, and owners of vessels, intent, it is to be feared, upon their gains, and too indifferent about the cause of religion and the coming of Christ's kingdom, are confounded and distressed beyond description. I cannot but think real merchants and traders are intended : the specification of the articles of their commerce is, indeed, so particular, that I conceive there is no room for a figurative exposition. It will occur, however, to every one, that no sudden loss of the trade of the city of Rome itself would create such confusion and ruin in the commercial world as is here described. Agreeably, therefore, with what has been before remarked, we must understand the symbol of the “ mystic city" to be destroyed, of the whole dominion of the apostate kings ; of that fourth beast of Daniel “ whose dominion is not only to be taken away, but his body given to the burning flame."
But, although the traders of the earth are lamenting because “ the hopes of their gains” are gone; yet there are that view the judgment of the great Babylon in a very different light.
• Or, according to another reading, « And he that saileth to the place, and sailors."
20. “ Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets, for God hath avenged you of her. And a mighty angel took up a stone, like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all. And the voice of harpers, and of musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee, and no craftsman of what. ever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee, and the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee, and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived," — or,
thy merchants, indeed, were the great men of the earth; by thy magic, truly, were all the nations deceived." — “ And in her was found the blood of prophets, and saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.”
The inhabitants of heaven, with the departed prophets and apostles, are called to look upon the great enemy of that cause in which they laboured and fell, now suffering the vengeance of God." How often was it promised in the ancient oracles, “ Thine eye shall look in triumph upon thine enemies !”
The new symbol that is here given of the destruction of the apostate city, bespeaks it to be sudden, complete, and irretrievable. If the whole continent of Europe, with its luxurious cities, all the day long stunned with din of business and preparations for the enjoyments of a prosperous people, and whose illumined streets and palaces present the nightly festival of dissipation and extravagant mirth, of profligacy and debauchery,— if all this reigning region of the globe, in the midst of its careless, unsuspecting prosperity, should sink at once ingulfed in the devouring flames, we could not say the fulfilment had exceeded the prediction !
How awfully interesting, then, is the speculation : which are the nations that shall escape the fall of Babylon, to be the site of the glorious kingdom which the God of heaven will set up? For “ the" same “ stone,” we remember, “ that smites the image, becomes a great mountain, and fills the whole earth!”
We remark, further, that the blood of all the departed saints and martyrs is said to be demanded “ of this generation.” The same is the view which our Lord took of the desolation of Jerusalem. It is not easy, it seems, , in the eyes of a righteous God, to cleanse a land from the blood of saints and martyrs that have been shed thereon.
By merchants here, some, indeed, understand the dealers in the spiritual traffic of the mystic Babylon; and this receives some countenance by its connexion with the sorceries that had deceived all nations. But from what has been before said, I lean to the literal interpretation; and conceive, that though the ancient superstitions of the great whore are by no means at an end, yet a more modern state of society in Europe has sat for this picture. I conceive, too, that the word we render cery,” or “magic,” may equally well apply to the fascinations of luxury and extravagance, and to the various arts by which a pleasure-loving world is pampered, as to the deceptions and religious impostures that, in former times, bewitched the giddy multitude; and, in some way or other, do bewitch the inhabitants of the Roman world, or part of them, to the last.
The greatness of the merchants, I conceive, is, at least, to be taken literally. The costliness of Babylon had made rich "all that had ships in the sea;" and in
“ the state of things often foreboded of the last days, trade,
and commerce may very likely be the only or principal road to wealth and greatness. Let those, therefore, who may live to see, in Roman Catholic Europe, or corrupt Christendom in general, a season of triumph and prosperity, attended with its usual corruption of manners, – to see
increased wealth squandered among the “ inventors of evil things,” and among the pamperers of lust and extravagance, — to see the commercial interest rise paramount to all other considerations, trampling upon the rights of justice, despising the plea of mercy, and leading to a disregard of the ordinances of religion, - let them that behold, mark the signs of the times. Then will there be cause to think that the mystic Babylon — the golden city - though she sits as queen, and fears no evil - is ripe for destruction.
It is very clear, indeed, that the Roman world never loses entirely the influence of its idolatrous superstition. The false prophet is an active agent in its last exertions of power. But some change seems to take place with respect to the apostate church itself: those that formerly adorned her with gold and precious stones, strip her, and make her naked, and eat her flesh. The “ lovers of money” will, perhaps, require a cheaper religion, and begin to withdraw that support they once gave to antiquated institutions, and yet may become the victims of the same superstition as their forefathers were, or something like it. Thus, it should seem, the false prophet, in order to deceive the world in its last stage of its opposition to the truth, does not make an “ image of the beast” - erect a magnificent church, formed, after the manner of the imperial government, to rule over the earth, and to receive the adoration of the admiring multitude. His last instrument of deceit is of a far more mean and